Almost No New Hardware in the 2017 MacBook or MacBook Pro

We got our hands on the refreshed Retina MacBook 2017 and the MacBook Pro 13″ Touch Bar 2017, and—to be honest—not too much hardware has changed. After the wildly remodeled iMac 4K, we were hoping for a bit more than the expected spec bump. But the notebook hardware remains largely identical to last year’s models.

Retina MacBook 2017 teardown
Retina MacBook 2017 teardown

The only real change, beyond fan coloration, seems to address the lackluster keyboard action from last year’s MacBook. Users now inherit the more-responsive, second-gen butterfly key switches already found in last year’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

MacBook Pro 13
MacBook Pro 13″ Touch Bar 2017 Teardown

Retina MacBook 2017 and MacBook Pro 2017 Teardown Highlights:

  • The keyboard trigger looks like a more classic switch this go-around. The plastic butterfly mechanism appears to have thinned out to accommodate the new switch form factor. The keystroke and travel feel about the same to us, so perhaps the real change is reinforcement for repeated use.
  • While not really a mechanical change, the control and option keys got some new ink. They now mark keyboard shortcuts rather than translating for PC users.
  • The Touch Bar continues to add a second screen to damage, and we still haven’t figured out a way to remove it safely. We’ll keep trying, though.
  • Both Macs scored a 1 out of 10 on our repairability scale (10 is the easiest to repair). In both units, the processor, RAM, and flash memory are still soldered to the logic board. The battery assemblies are still entirely, and very solidly, glued into the case, thus complicating replacement.

Check out our full Retina MacBook 2017 and MacBook Pro 2017 Teardowns for more analysis.